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Catecholamines and drug—behavior interactions

  • L. S. Seiden
  • R. C. MacPhail
  • M. W. Oglesby
Part of the FASEB Monographs book series (FASEBM, volume 4)

Abstract

The effects of several drugs on schedule-controlled operant behavior depend on the baseline rate of responding and on the nature of the environmental conditions that maintain the behavior. For example, the effects of amphetamine and alpha-methyl-para-tyrosine (αMT) on operant performances depend to a large extent on the rate at which organisms respond under nondrug control conditions. A neurochemical mechanism for these rate-dependent effects has not been established. However, several lines of evidence suggest that catecholamines are functionally important in the maintenance of many types of behavior, including operant behavior. The fact that many drugs which exhibit drug-behavior interactions also produce characteristic effects on the metabolism of central nervous system catecholamines suggests that the performance of operant behavior per se modifies brain catecholamine metabolism and thereby the subsequent drug effect. Experiments measuring the depletion of catecholamines following synthesis inhibition with αMT, or changes in the specific activity of norepinephrine after tritium labeling, have shown that operant behavior alters the metabolism of catecholamines. Preliminary evidence is also presented from experiments designed to determine variables associated with the performance-induced changes in catecholamine metabolism. These variables include: rate of response; rate or density of reinforcement; and response-reinforcer contingencies. The results of these experiments suggest a neurochemical mechanism for the rate-dependent effects of amphetamine and αMT. A model is presented that may account for the general phenomenon of drug-behavior interactions in neurochemical terms. — Seiden, L. S., R. C. Makcphail and M. W. Oglesby. Catecholamines and drug-behavior interactions. Federation Proc. 34: 1823–1831, 1975.

Keywords

Operant Behavior Spontaneous Motor Activity Interresponse Time Brain Catecholamine Water Reinforcement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

αMT

α-methyl-para-tyrosine

FR

fixed ratio

FI

fixed interval

DRL

differential reinforcement of low rate.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. S. Seiden
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. C. MacPhail
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. W. Oglesby
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacological and Physiological SciencesThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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